CEDAR PARK, Texas - T.J. Brennan and Peter Holland scored 13 seconds apart in the second period and the Toronto Marlies defeated the Texas Stars 5-1 on Friday in Game 1 of the American Hockey League's Western Conference final.
Chris Mueller replied for the Stars.
Brennan scored on the power play 7:15 into the second period when he fired a wrist shot past Texas goalie Cristopher Nilstorp. On the very next shift Holland forced a Stars turnover and beat Nilstorp to give Toronto a 3-0 lead.
It was more than enough for Marlies goalie Drew MacIntyre, who stopped 49 of 50 shots.
Game 2 is Monday at the Cedar Park Center, where Toronto can extend its playoff unbeaten streak to 9-0. Texas had been a perfect 4-0 at home in the playoffs before the loss.
MacIntyre was tested early and often by Texas — the AHL regular-season champions — but helped Toronto stay undefeated in the post-season with a couple dazzling stops.
Late in the first period he was caught behind the net while battling for a rebound. The puck kicked out to Stars forward Brett Ritchie in front of the net, but MacIntyre scrambled back to make the save.
After stopping 12 shots in the first period, the 30-year-old goalie stopped 17 in the second and was continuously under siege in the third period — where he faced 21 shots.
Toronto played with the lead for most of the night after Kozun scored 3:11 into the game.
Kozun collected a pass from Trevor Smith in the neutral zone, skated between a pair of Stars defencemen and fired a wrist shot over Nilstorp's shoulder.
Texas finally broke MacIntyre's shutout bid with 4:27 remaining when Mueller scored on the power play.
Two minutes later Carrick scored into the empty net, followed by a short-handed empty-net goal by Smithson to give Toronto a 5-1 lead.